Skip to main content
8:00 am
in 2007, a russian submarine planted that nation's flag under the north pole. it is made of rust-proof titanium and just a few months ago, a russian orthodox bishop went and gave a special blessing to the top of the world. the russians might think they're being nice, but other nations with claims out there feel that russia's behavior is really quite naughty. don't forget viewers in the united states can catch our latest gps special tonight called "tough decisions" and it examines how major decisions are made in everything from national security to business to family affairs. it airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. don't miss it. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week, i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." there are signs maybe just a glimmer, maybe something more, that the tone of journalism is
8:01 am
starting to change in the wake of the connecticut school massacre. signs of this is not just another tragedy that we talk about for a week and move on, but has changed the sensibility of the news business. that has some commentators rethinking their long-standing opposition to gun control. >> i knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that i want. that i demand for my children. friday changed everything. it must change everything. it is time for congress to put children before deadly darkness. time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our school yards than putting together their next fund-raiser. >> a very different message for the media in a rather unusual tellvised speech by the nra chief executive wayne lapierre. >> the media demonized gun
8:02 am
owners. >> what role should the media play in this emotional debate? a new movie about the hunt for osama bin laden revives a passionate debate about torture. >> no birth certificate, no cell phone. you guys are ghosts. >> he's right in the inner circle. >> the whole world is going to want in on this. >> is "zero dark 30" or did the filmmakers get a bit too cozy with the obama administration? i'm howard kurtz and this is "reliable sources." it was billed as a press conference, but it was anything but. wayne lapierre took no argument. he called for armed guards in
8:03 am
school and ripped the media for reporting misinformation and failing to nail the real culprits. >> in a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society. by bringing in an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes. >> so, is there any validity to these bombastic charges against the press. joining us now here in washington, terence smith, former correspondent for pbs news hour and cbs news and "new york times." and tom foreman who attended friday's nra event. tom, what was it like being at this nra event? i won't call it a press conference. are you surprised that not a single journalist got to ask a question? >> it was not a press conference. all of us expected to exchange questions and answers with wayne
8:04 am
lapierre and the president of nra who was there. it didn't happen at all. it did not happen but adamantly did not happen. several of us tried to call out questions to the participants and even at one point i said to them, would you answer even one question? are you willing to talk to the white house about any of this, even to that, they just kept walking. that was a big disappointment and sort of set the tone for the room. >> when wayne lapierre said falsehoods about semiautomatic weapons and the media are demonizing gun owners, is he right? >> no. but even before that what he got was a priceless gift of 25 minutes of free media from those news organizations that elected to carry it live. and i bet they were rather disappointed when they learned, as you just said, tom, that there would be no questions, no opportunity to challenge any of the assertions made, including the two you just mentioned. >> let's talk about the tone of
8:05 am
the coverage of the nra event. if i can put up on the screen, the new york tabloid covers. gun nut. the "huffington post" said the gun came out. this is mockery of the nra. >> i think that does not help. the truth is, all that does is validate to wayne lapierre and all the people, yes, the media is against us and they're unfairly against us. i think there were a lot of legitimate assessments and analysis of that news conference, which could be done by many people without calling people nuts, without saying they're crazy because the truth is, one of the reasons the nra has so much clout is because there are a lot of good americans out there who believe that their direction is the right direction. >> i don't want to see news organizations characterize the nra one way or the other. i want to see them look into the $100 million a year they get in donations from gun manufacturers
8:06 am
and gun retailers. i want to know more about the donations they in turn make to key legislatures. there is serious reporting to be done about the nra. >> plenty of it, too. it's everywhere. not just on a small scale. if you look at what's going on at the local level, forget about the national level. the degree to which they play ball politically is huge. and that's a great story. you don't have to take it one way or the other. you can simply report on it. >> that's what i want to say. >> it was a strange spectacle on friday, but to throw around words like nut in the headline and it wasn't a coincidence that he has come out for a ban on semiautomatic weapons and then his paper takes that hardline. wayne lapierre was interviewed on "meet the press" and i've never seen david gregory be so aggressive with a guest. here's a clip of that interview. >> here's a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets. now, isn't it possible that if we got rid of these and we replace them and we said you can
8:07 am
only have a magazine that carries five bullets or ten bullets, isn't it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like newtown? >> i don't believe that will make one difference. >> is that aggressive interviewing or almost taking a stand? >> i'm happy with that, but i don't want to see it become too proscatorial for the reasons that tom was just saying. you know, don't do that. go after the facts about the nra. >> the interview was pressing lapierre on the facts and he was responding with the point of view, it's not guns. you said this is not helpful. doesn't wayne lapierre have a point on this score when he says that companies, media companies either glamourize violence through the colors and making the movies and television shows and video games. i mean, isn't that something that should be on the table for discussion, as well? >> i think if you look at all the statistics about violence and everything that has changed in our culture over the past 20
8:08 am
or 30 or 40 years, i don't see how you can't look at everything. this is the place where the nra probably ran afoul, though, on friday. they said, look at everything except guns. the truth is, many of us came out of there saying if at one point they said in addition to all of this, yes, we should look at gun laws because we at the nra look at gun laws every day. it would have completely changed the tone of how people addressed it. but to say it's all about everything except guns, i think that's one of the reasons that so many reporters have dwaun gone on the attack here saying, come on, you have to talk about this. >> i'm sure that's why networks took it live. they wanted to hear if in the wake of this horrific event, the nra would at least change its approach to gun control or some of the issues of gun control. instead, i think what they saw was an effort to shift the argument away from gun control. >> the nra argument summarized. guns don't kill people, media
8:09 am
kill people. so, is there some room here -- >> there's something to go back to your first question. there is something, of course, he is right. wayne lapierre is right when he talks about the dreadful glorification of violence. but we didn't need to learn that from wayne lapierre. >> but in the wake of this horrible tragedy in connecticut where is the media soul searching on its role, their role, these companies, on the whole question of the violent culture. i don't see much of it. but on the nra front, i do take your point that perhaps with this very aggressive characterization would happen on friday those who are supporters on friday believe they can't get a break from the main stream media. >> when you talk about the soul searching of the media, look the soul searching of the media has to be the same soul searching that politicians have to do. if you're barack obama, you should be saying to yourself, why didn't i do anything about
8:10 am
this when i was a senator. why didn't i do anything in my first term? why didn't i wait until the latest calamity. i have been covering school shootings for 20 years and this happens after every one of them and eight months later you can't get anyone to talk about it and the media should following them. >> we respond to tragedy and too often it goes off the radar screen. larry smith, tom foreman, thank you for coming by. when we come back, is the newtown story starting to fade or will the emotional impact on journalists help keep it alive? [ woman ] dear cat, your hair mixes with pollen and dust. i get congested.
8:11 am
but now, with zyrtec-d®, i have the proven allergy relief of zyrtec®, plus a powerful decongestant. zyrtec-d® lets me breath freer, so i can love the air. [ male announcer ] zyrtec-d®. behind the pharmacy counter. no prescription needed. plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+.
8:12 am
8:13 am
[ male announcer ] jill and her mouth have lived
8:14 am
a great life. but she has some dental issues she's not happy about. so i introduced jill to crest pro-health for life. selected for people over 50. pro-health for life is a toothpaste that defends against tender, inflamed gums, sensitivity and weak enamel. conditions people over 50 experience. crest pro-health for life. so jill can keep living the good life. crest. life opens up when you do. the shock of what happened in newtown, connecticut, still hasn't worn off. for many of the journalists covering the tragedy, it is impossible to treat it as just another story. the pain surrounding the young children who were killed is just too raw. >> that's what you would do, too. you would get into the child's bed and remember all the things you loved about them. >> for the past three days i have been on the verge of tears
8:15 am
every second and most of the people here have been crying 24 hours straight. >> but how much will the emotional impact shake the coverage of this sensitive story? i put that question to the panel of top media critics. fred francis, former nbc senior correspondent and founder of 15seconds.c lauren ashbam and steve who spent decades at "new york times." are the media now, finally, leading a national debate on guns? >> reluctantly and awkwardly. the way they got this started off. painful as a journalist for 40 years to watch all the mistakes. but carrying it through now over a full week clearly going into another week after this into the holiday weeks. i think the debate is off and running and i think it has legs. >> it seems like the reporters and the pundits, some of them,
8:16 am
at least, finally showing the emotional impact of covering this. >> in the beginning you want to do the job you're sent there to do. you get your mind in the game. you find your cell phone, your laptop and you pack your clothes and you're going to be there for five days and you're in this bubble where you cannot let emotion come in. it's not until a week later, four, five days later where we're starting to see the toll it is taking on journalists. >> is there a danger as the media do now either lead or become swept up in this debate about guns and safety that they will be seen as pushing a liberal agenda, a pro-gun control agenda? >> sure, there is a danger with that. i agree with lauren. i have six grandchildren between the ages of 7 and 11. i couldn't help but feel those tugs of emotion. we're trained as journalists to try to resist them. >> who could resist it? who could not think about their kids? >> exactly. but one of the powers we have,
8:17 am
howie, who we give our microphones to and voices we amplify and the national rifle association has had a very big microphone in this country and dominated this debate and outspent all gun control organizations by huge sums. and, so, i think it is appropriate for us to give voice to other organizations and other voices, but there is a danger of seeming to be leading the charge for gun control. >> you get into this question of, if people come on the air and in print and say, okay, we need to now talk about gun control because we've been through aurora, columbine and newtown. politicizing the issue. >> in the past you could have accused people of politicizing, but not now. this started almost 14 full days before newtown when bob costas went on the air and talked about that gun issue.
8:18 am
>> and got hammered for it. >> so i just think that now that this has happened and, like you, steven, two grandchildren. 6 and 9. my daughter-in-law is a first grade schoolteacher. this really hit home and i think it hit everybody home. >> but the media have to be careful here to have balance. for example, on msnbc the anchor thomas roberts who is not in favor of changing gun control laws and roberts came back and said, well, so, you think we should just send our children to school to be assassinated and that suggests that anybody who has a different view is somehow the enemy. >> that is very unfair. but one of the reasons why this debate took off is that you have unusual voices stepping forward, especially joe manchin of california who gets an "a" rating from the nra and did a famous ad shooting a rifle and he comes out and says, i've changed my mind. >> so does joe scarborough on msnbc.
8:19 am
>> that's how the debate changes. >> he is a former republican congressman from florida. >> endorsed four times by the nra. >> to say i -- that day changed everything for him. he is rethinking his position on gun control. >> he has small children. he called the school immediately, said, can i come and get my children and it's that emotional impact that, fred, you were talking about. >> if there's one thing we learned from friday a week ago to now because of the mistakes made in the media is that now young reporters and older ones have to be more thoughtful about how they frame this debate. and have to really stay in the center, if that is all possible, especially in a place like washington. >> we have to have the debate. this is the issue because next time there's going to be another shooting, but that's going to be, who knows, months down the road. in the next week, we're going to be on to something else. that's just the way we are. the media have add. >> that has always been the case. even after these mass tragedies,
8:20 am
it dominates the discourse. it dominates the media for seven days, eight days, ten days, 14 days. as you say, we move on. i wonder this time whether it will be different. you listen to scarborough calling out his former colleagues to take a stand. you listen to all of you at the table talking about your kids and grandchildren. you sound skeptical. >> i want to believe this is the high water mark. this is the place where enough is enough. but i don't believe it will be. >> look, the nra is, obviously, not gone away. they might have gone dark for a few days but an enormous amount of money and an enormous amount of clout in the city. when an issue like this takes hold and it appeals not on an ideological point of view. so much of the feelings are filtered through the personal stories that fred and i were talking about. when it has that quality, it transcends ideology and it transcends partisanship so when a joe scarborough says i'm not
8:21 am
looking at this through the lens of my kids, not through the lens of political advantage, that's a very different way of looking at it and, therefore, has the chance of continuing. >> too often, fred, as we saw in the presidential campaign. the media didsant talk about gun control. >> now president obama clearly shak shaken, like all of us, about what happened in connecticut. that makes it easier for journalists to keep it on the front burner. >> it's not the journalist s responsibility to keep it on the frontburner. >> i disagree. >> we cover the news. we cannot, it is the news this week. it is the news through the holidays, okay. is it going to be the news the first week in january? only if politicians, political leaders and corporate leaders, civic leaders make it the news. >> president obama put together a task force. what we're going to do is not track that task force. what we should do is track the
8:22 am
task force and hold them accountable, but we don't do that. >> here's why i disagree. journalists say if politicians are going to talk about civil rights, we're not going to make it a front burner issue. journalists say if politicians don't talk about gay marriage, we're not going to cover it. your seeding responsibility to a political class that wants to duck uncomfortable issues and not to be advocates and don't they have a responsibility to say we just saw 20 children killed -- >> we covered civil rights and the gay rights because it was in the streets. we covered it because it was a legitimate news story. this is a legitimate news story. we can't go on "today" show or cnn in the morning week after week covering the story that is only being talked about on sets like this. >> there was a mall shooting. there was a mall shooting two days or a week before this where two people were killed. that was it. >> two policemen killed in topeka, kansas, two policemen killed in topeka, kansas, the
8:23 am
same day. do we now point our cameras at those incidents more? do we ask questions of the president -- >> cover the news. >> you know what, fred, the news is also not just a spectacular horrifying incident when there is a mass shooting. every weekend in major cities across the country often minority kids are gunned down because there are a lot of guns on the streets. i'm not advocating a position here, we could play that up if we weren't so jaded about it. >> we took the lead during the presidential election from the politicians who never raised gun control. you know what we talked about, we talked about etch-a-sketch and big birds and binders full of women, did we talk about that? no. >> i think fred has this point that's fair, it takes the politicians to set the debate, but we can choose to amplify certain voices and we ask questions and we can take them seriously and this issue is now a front burner issue. questions are justified and
8:24 am
investigative reports are justified. so, we can be part of this. >> there's no money for it. >> i'm just saying i heard anchor people, men and women on the air this week, grilling pro and con gun support. grilling them to the point of excess and i'm saying we can't cross the line. we'll cover the story, but we have to stay in the middle. >> okay. we'll talk more about some of the issues you raised when we come back. we'll look at the highs and lows of this year prfs presidential campaign coverage. did the media rise to the occasion? again? it's embarrassing it's embarrassing! we can see you carl. we can totally see you. come on you're better than this...all that prowling around. yeah, you're the king of the jungle. have you thought about going vegan carl? hahaha!! you know folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. how happy are they jimmy? happier than antelope with night-vision goggles. nice! get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
8:25 am
he opened up jake's very private world. at first, jake's family thought they saved ziggy, but his connection with jake has been a lifesaver. for a love this strong, his family only feeds him iams. compared to other leading brands, it has 50% more animal protein... help keep ziggy's body as strong as a love that reaches further than anyone's words. iams. keep love strong.
8:26 am
i'm going to dream about that steak. i'm going to dream about that tiramisu. what a night, huh? but, um, can the test drive be over now? head back to the dealership? [ male announcer ] it's practically yours. but we still need your signature. volkswagen sign then drive is back. and it's never been easier to get a passat. that's the power of german engineering. get $0 down, $0 due at signing, $0 deposit, and $0 first month's payment on any new volkswagen. visit today. starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news.
8:27 am
8:28 am
the presidential campaign was the most intensely covered in history and was built about being big issues, taxes, spending, health care, immigration. but all too often the media were by gaffes, missteps. >> yesterday, i guess the only thing worse you could say is in a time like this when people are out of work is that herbert hoover is my hero. >> i think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. everything changes. it's almost like an etch a sketch. you can kind of shake it up and we start all over, again. >> mitt romney and his campaign wanted to talk about his victory in the illinois primary but then
8:29 am
the debate over this iconic children's toy the etch a sketch threatened to erase all that. >> the private sector is doing fine. the private sector is doing fine. the private sector is doing fine. >> this is not fine by any measure. it is shocking and unacceptable. >> what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that to himself. you're crazy. you're absolutely crazy. >> that is the weirdest thing i have seen at a political convention in my entire life. >> they brought us a whole binders full of women. >> it's the phrase that won't die. you cannot escape it. >> binders full of women. >> binders full of women. >> steve roberts, when you look back at this campaign and the media on balance provide nutritious fair or a lot of empty calories? >> look, you can say that they got distracted by the etch a sketch or by binders full of women -- >> you could say that. i just did.
8:30 am
>> but you could also say these candidates are so scripted, they are so focused, they are so predigested that we get very few real glimpses into what they really think until some of these "gaffes" are revealing moments. when mitt romney says, i like to fire people, that revealed a mindset. when he talked about 47%, it revealed the mindset. >> that one sound bite that we can then play over and over and over again. >> but what steve said is they're so scripted, well, they're not so scripted until they're not. okay. and they don't script their ad libs. okay. and the ones that get in trouble with etch a sketch, that wasn't romney, but it was one of his people and the others who get in trouble like hillary rose, they make these gaffes or the candidates go off message and start ad libbing and they are not prepared to do that and it's the one sound bite that you're looking for. >> well, that's true. don't look at me looking for it.
8:31 am
but it's driven, right, howie, by social media. so many people are dual screening and twitter is 140 characters and you want to be snappy and you want people to think, they're clever. you take big bird and binders full of women and you run with it. >> i was at the second presidential debate and i had my head down that binders full of women trying to recruit more women in massachusetts had gone utterly viral. >> had the virtue of being, you know, spreading vicious truths. i mean, the fact is, we get so few moments where we see inside these candidates and see what they really think. >> i want to -- >> these moments can be very important, howie. >> i am not saying that none of these are stories. romney's chief adviser says he's going to etch a ketch his whole campaign to reset for the fall. that is worthy of being covered. the extent to which it comes to
8:32 am
dominate a wheel week's worth of covage complety squeezed out any serious debate of what we agreed the campaign should have been about. >> both the romney and obama campaigns went along with a very scripted five or six or eight or ten months. everybody covers that. as soon as they go off script in an etch a sketch moment or the private sector is doing fine moment, as soon as they go off, everybody jumps up. so, you cannot blame. >> you don't see any excess here? >> no, i don't. >> you think binders and etch a sketch and all of that was played just the right amount of time? >> no. i'm not saying that. i'm just saying if we ran what they said week after week after week, we would be running the same sound bites. >> because they have the same speeches. >> when they go off message, when they go off message, it's news. >> you make it like we are a captive of sound bites. >> we aren't. >> we are but here's what the
8:33 am
press used to follow 20 years ago. we had reporters digging into their records. romney accomplished in massachusetts, what they really believe or don't believe on whole range of issues, taxes, spending, gun control and ammuniti ammunition. here's the interesting thing. >> you have to go to the websites to find that. you have to go to the nonprofit funded sites. >> you could go to "new york times" you could go to "wall street journal" that's not a website. >> you can get excellent analysis from those papers and websites, but if you want to drill down on the super pac money and who's giving what to whom, you go to these data bases. they are available. >> i'm not defending the sound bite. i think twitter can have a very del tearious effect. you cannot say anything intelligent in 140 characters, period. you can't do it. >> you can hurt yourself, too. >> are you on twitter?
8:34 am
>> no. >> let me make this point. if the candidates, i don't care if it's presidential or congressional or senate candidates, if they make themselves available to the media, if they made themselves available to media, when these blurbs come out and when these unplanned moments happen, it won't be as big. >> president obama made himself available to the media, he was on "the view" and leno. >> you make my point. >> the three presidential debates and the one vice presidential debate where journalists led pretty serious conversations, even though the aftermath tended to focus on -- >> and the female journalists. >> you think that was a factor? >> i do think it was a factor. >> speak up. >> please, i'm happy, too. candy crowley was the first female journalist in 20 years to host a presidential debate. that debate was thoughtful, it was provocative, it made news.
8:35 am
she got the candidates to make news. same thing when we had the vice presidential debate. >> abc's martha raddatz, but the media or some elements of the media may candy crowley, jim lehar the news and took issue, they're fair game. but it almost seemed like they were dissected as much. >> let me ask the women, when is it going to be that we don't, we don't make a big deal of the fact that it is a women? >> i tell you one story, look, being married to a female journalist. i agree with you 120%. but there's a -- >> you have to. >> you're getting dinner tonight. >> i also believe it. but i tell you one thing that where we fell down, why were people so surprised, including republicans, so surprised at the turnout among democratic voters? that was a story that got missed. the fact is, block by block, ipad by ipad, town by town.
8:36 am
obama was organizing and generating a good deal of effort on the ground. that's a much harder story to do than repeating sound bites. the fact that a lot of people were surprised at the turnout, including republicans, tells me that was one of the big stories. >> that was a social media gaffe that the romney campaign made. they had this big organization they put together and it didn't work. >> just to button this up, i don't think we'll have a presidential campaign, again, where it's one token woman acting as a moderator. that was a positive step. >> thanks very much for joining us this morning. ahead on "reliable sources" a harrowing ordeal in syria for richard engel. risk-taking reporters in just a moment. who do you think i am, quicken loans? ♪ at quicken loans, our amazingly useful mortgage calculator app allows you to quickly calculate your mortgage payment based on today's incredibly low interest rates...
8:37 am
right from your iphone or android smartphone. one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze. ♪
8:38 am
8:39 am
8:40 am
richard engel is one of those reporters who just can't stay away from danger from iraq to afghanistan, from lebanon to egypt. magnetically attracted to war zones. i was sickened to learn that he and his crew had been kidnapped what engel later described as progovernment militants in syria. >> hello, how are you? >> sigh of relief.
8:41 am
it was announced that he was safe inside neighboring turkey. he later popped up on "today" show to describe what happened. >> a group of gunmen just literally jumped out of the trees and bushes. they dragged us out of the car. >> what followed was a five-day ordeal that is chilling to listen to. >> we weren't physically beaten or tortured. a lot of psychological torture. threats of being killed. they made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused, there were mock shootings. they pretended to shoot several times. >> the nbc journalist escaped when they came to a rebel checkpoint. two of the captors were killed. not to report engel's disappear ps and most complied but a few refused. now, critics say the media are just protecting their own, but
8:42 am
hard to publish a story that could endanger a colleague's life, especially when journalists like engel are taking risks to bring us the stories of war. after the break, the movie about the hunt for osama bin laden sparks questions about accuracy, torture and coziness with the obama administration. we'll look at "zero dark 30." that's next. ♪ ooh baby, can i do for you today? ♪ [ female announcer ] need help keeping your digestive balance? align can help. only align has bifantis, a patented probiotic that naturally helps maintain your digestive balance. try align to help retain a balanced digestive system. try the #1 gastroenterologist recommended probiotic. align. welcome to chevy's year-end event. so, the 5.3-liter v8 silverado can tow up to 9,600 pounds? 315 horsepower. what's that in reindeer-power? [ laughs ]
8:43 am
[ pencil scratches ] [ male announcer ] chevy's giving more. get the best offer of the year -- 0% apr financing for 60 months plus $1,000 holiday bonus cash. plus trade up for an additional $1,000 trade-in allowance. hurry. bonus cash ends january 2nd.
8:44 am
i get congested. but now, with zyrtec-d®, i have the proven allergy relief of zyrtec®, plus a powerful decongestant. zyrtec-d® lets me breath freer, so i can love the air. [ male announcer ] zyrtec-d®. behind the pharmacy counter. no prescription needed.
8:45 am
8:46 am
rarely does a movie generate so much controversy before it hits the theaters but this features a female cia agent whose identity remains secret and revives the polarizing debate over torture. no wonder the media are hotly debating "zero dark thirty." >> working group coming to the rescue. >> i want you to know that you're wrong. it's just us. we are failing. >> you really believe this story? osama bin laden. >> yeah. >> if you're right, the whole world's going to want in on this.
8:47 am
>> you will never find him. >> is the movie accurate and fair and balanced and fair to the cia folks being portrayed? joining us peter bergen and author of the book "man hunt" the ten-year search for bin laden and in new york david ettlestein. presenting this as a work of journalism. but so much dramatic dialogue that seems a little too perfect and composite characters, so, which is it? >> that's what they're saying. the filmmakers are saying this is an act of journalism and, oh, this is completely neutral. from what i see, it is a very standard action revenge movie. it begins with a horrible insult. it ends with payback. at the same time, it's done in a very cool, if not icy objective style. there's no attempt to make the torture seem anything other than
8:48 am
it is, which is ugly and brutal. there is no attempt to soft pedal or glorify. the s.e.a.l.s. put extra bullets into people who aren't even armed. it seems to me despite their protest to the country, there's no way you can interpret this as a movie that is anything but means justifying ends ugly as they are. guy did something bad to us and we got him. >> aside from the message of the movie and it has genuinely gotten good reviews. does it have the sin macinemati elements of good movie making? >> it's not a documentary, it's a movie. the reason we're having this conversation is they have said, they have claimed that it is a form of journalism.
8:49 am
therefore it can be judged as a form of journalism. >> is your view influenced by the fact that you were unpaid by the film. they asked me to come and critique it and i did and i said some of the torture scenes are raw and they turned that down. most viewers will come out feeling that coercive interrogation somehow after bin laden, the senate intelligence committee is now or less refuted that and that report remains classified. you know, it's hard to make a fully, you know, fully comment on that in the absence of this report being public. >> 30 minutes of the film is devoted to pretty raw torture scenes. let's see what she had to say about this when she was interviewed on cbs. >> there is graphic torture, including waterboarding. because there was an obsession on the part of the cia and the government to find people who
8:50 am
did the terrible thing to america that they did on 9/11. why was it important for you to show that? >> well, i think it was important for us to tell a true story. and it's part of the history. it's controversial, but it's part of the history. >> david edlestein too much torture in this as a way of making if bigger at the box office? >> i don't think so. we know there was a ton of torture. my problem in some ways, there wasn't enough because one of the problems with the film is that there's no context for the torture. they torture the right people at the right time. they get the intel that they're looking for. what you don't see is the vast number of casualties of innocent people pulled in and tortured and all kinds of nonsystemic ways, generating absolutely no valuable intel whatsoever. now peter can speak to that a lot better than i can.
8:51 am
i'm a film critic. my idea of torture is a stallone movie. from peter's book and others, that, you know, this just context actually this is just -- this is just very misrepresentative of what happened. and of the discussion in the cia at the time. >> let me broaden the question to peter bergen. also what about jessica chastain's of the woman known in the film as mya. a real-life cia operative can't defend herself, she's not allowed to go public. "washington post" front page story said he was abraysive, her colleagues didn't like her. somebody instrumental in getting bin laden was portrayed in this fashion. >> in the film she comes off very well. as i talked to the screenwriter about this, he said that was a creatives choice to make a female analyst at the center of the story. >> i'm shocked to hear that. >> there were men involved, an
8:52 am
alias by the name of john, he's not in the film as far as i can see. i think it's fair enough and i think that it's representative of the very large cultural shift in the agency in the last decade or so where women have played a much more important role in not only the terrorism but in the agency and senior positions. >> the ample cooperation of kathryn bigelow and other administration, received from the white house and the pentagon, documented in the e-mails that have come out, do you think that maybe unmaliced the film a little bit or compromised the independence. >> the obama administration comes off, if anything, poorly with this. the one scene with the president his view on torture comes off prissy and only appears in the cameo in the background in a "60 minutes" interview. >> you have written there's a theory that screen writer fell in love with his cia sources and embraced their perspective wholeheartedly. explain. >> well, i mean from what i gather, i think that's true.
8:53 am
and in a peculiar way, this is sort of a feminist movie in that he put a lot of their feelings into the character of this woman who actually, whose role in the story is to drive the men to be more decisive, to be, if you will, more macho, take a chance, take risks, take this sfrmg.o.b down and not do this probability stuff. >> i'm going to make a prediction, this film is going to do very well given the avalanche of publicity even before it opens nationwide. >> it's a phenomenally well made movie. >> thank you for the critic analysis. appreciate your joining us. the acting cia director says in a statement the movie takes significant artistic license, it is not a realistic portrayal of the facts and the idea that torture was the key to finding bin laden was in his words false. we'll be back in a moment. .
8:54 am
8:55 am
8:56 am
8:57 am
time now for the media monitor. our weekly look at the hits and errors. here's what i like with the country a week interest ligds off the fiscal cliff "the wall street journal" has a terrific reconstruction of how the talks collapsed. one point president obama
8:58 am
reminded john boehner of the election results saying, you're asking me to accept mitt romney's tax plan. why would i do that? the general piece is packed with revealing details. boehner's backup bill dubbed plan b may have failed spectacularly on thursday night, never got to a vote, but t"the daily beast" had its own failure, reported that plan had passed plan b before correcting the error 15 minutes later. hillary clinton did not testify this week the a congressional hearings on the benghazi attack because she's recovering from a concussion suffered after she had fainted. some fox news commentators practically demanded she get a note from her doctor. >> she's suffering from acute benghazi allergy which causes lightheadedness when she hears the word benghazi or is being asked about it. >> how could she get a concussion when she's been ducking everything. this is what i don't understand. makes no sense to me. >> hillary clinton, i guess she passed out somewhere. is she unconscious somewhere? >> bill -- >> she can't testify.
8:59 am
>> really? they're making fun of the secretary of state's injury? this drew a rhetoric from greta van sus ren who blogged i don't agree with any of my fnc colleagues or anyone who is a tad bit sarcastic on our air about secretary clinton's health. she will testify next month. a story from last week, rhonda lee lost her job because of facebook. she was a meteorologist at abc affiliate in shreveport, louisiana. was she rude to a viewer? not at all. a viewer wrote on facebook that the black lady that does the news needs to wear a wig or grow more hair. lee responded that, i am sorry you don't like my ethnic hair. i am very proud of my african-american ancestry which includes my hair. conforming to one standard isn't what being american is about and i hope you can embrace that. thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thanks for watching. she was fired for that? >> i feel like i was being punished for defending myself, whereas other

Reliable Sources
CNN December 23, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PST

Series/Special. Examining media coverage and how it can shape the news. New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Wayne Lapierre 9, Fred 3, Nra 3, Newtown 3, New York 3, Washington 3, Obama Administration 3, Romney 3, Clinton 3, Jake 3, Howie 3, Engel 3, Syria 2, Msnbc 2, Geico 2, Kansas 2, Topeka 2, Volkswagen 2, Cia 2, Massachusetts 2
Network CNN
Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Virtual Ch. 759 (CNN HD)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 1920
Pixel height 1080
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 12/23/2012